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Residents Flee Villages, Communities In South-East As Killings, Unrest Rise

4 May 2021 - 8:00am

More South-East villages and communities are presently being deserted, going by the violent clashes between Nigerian security operatives and separatist groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra and its security arm, Eastern Security Network.

SaharaReporters spoke to a number of affected persons who have left their villages and communities in Imo and are presently staying put at Owerri, the state capital amidst increasing fatal clashes between the police, the army and the ESN officials or those sometimes generally described as unknown gunmen.

File Photo

Some victims noted that the affected villages in Imo include Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema communities; others are in Orsu and Orlu local government areas as well as Oru East and Oru West LGAs, and Agwa and Izombe communities where there have been continuous military raids on the suspected hideouts of the militants.  

In Anambra, residents are moving from communities in Aguata and Njikoka LGAs to the state capital, Awka or major towns such as Onitsha.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, a resident and businessman, Joe Chukwu, said, “I have not been able to go to my village in the past three months. The military has been raiding our youths on a weekly basis, now, everywhere is deserted. Most farming activities have stopped.

“I had to move my things in January and I relocated to Owerri. I have been here since. It is true that people in Orlu, Orsu and neighbouring communities are moving to Owerri.”

“Same in Anambra, people are leaving the villages, because they are becoming the battle ground. You can only remain in the village if you are ESN or IPOB or you are ready to be raided by the army. Attendance in most of the churches and schools in the villages has dropped significantly. For two months, I have been in Onitsha and I don’t plan to visit my village for now,” another source stated.

“Apart from Owerri, there is hardly any other place free from military raids in Imo State. Even people from Mbaise and Okigwe are finding their way to Owerri. The cost of living is now higher and more people are trooping in, daily, including security officials. People cannot sleep overnight without apprehension in any other town,” a resident, Nweze Johnson, said.

SaharaReporters had on April 20 reported that the Nigerian Army deployed its personnel to some Imo State communities to carry out raids, discreet searches and arrests of youths and residents suspected to be linked to the IPOB and the ESN.

Multiple sources had told SaharaReporters that the military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri, since Sunday have been arresting male residents and youths, particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities, and putting them in vans from where they are taken to unknown destinations.

“We have been getting distress calls from our relatives and people in communities like Ohaji, Osu, Agwa and Izombe surrounded by army personnel. They have been abducting some male youths. It is an abduction because nobody among those arrested knows their offence, where they are taking them to or able to communicate with their relatives before they are taken away. The military are forcing them into their vans,” a source had stated.

“A few women are among the victims being raided too. Some of our women who went to farm have not returned since. People from Oguta, Ohaji communities, who have relatives in Owerri town are fleeing because the army wants to turn our villages into deserts. What is all this search because of IPOB and ESN? Is it by emptying our villages that you arrest IPOB and ESN? Won’t people go to their farms again?” a resident had said.

Imo State has been a hotbed of violence and killings which got to a head on April 5, when the notorious gunmen attacked the state police command headquarters, and freed no fewer than 1,800 inmates at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Owerri.

The gunmen also attacked the office of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the state police command, freeing suspects there.

The attackers burnt all the vehicles parked at the command headquarters and freed all the suspects in almost all the cells at the SCID. 

SaharaReporters had reported that the gunmen went with 10 vehicles, and also attacked soldiers stationed at Umuorji along Owerri–Onitsha Expressway.

Earlier, four police divisional headquarters were attacked in February. They include Obowo, Aboh Mbaise and Ihitte/Uboma, divisions.

Unknown gunmen on March 20 also razed the Isiala Mbano Police Divisional Headquarters located at Umuelemai in Imo State.

The gunmen had invaded the divisional headquarters armoury and freed suspects in the detention facility and carted away arms.

While some have identified the IPOB and ESN as the culprits, the state government had said the gunmen were being used by aggrieved politicians, while the IPOB has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.

SaharaReporters had also on Monday reported that even policemen deployed to the South-East states of Imo, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu states are currently deserting their stations, and now prefer to go to work in mufti the few times they choose to go.

SaharaReporters had learnt that it is also increasingly difficult for policemen to arrest suspects in neighbourhoods or to keep their suspects in cell, as is the custom before cases are charged to court.

It was gathered that most policemen, particularly those who are not Igbo indigenes, are desperately seeking redeployments amidst fear of being caught in the middle of an attack by “unknown gunmen.”

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BREAKING: Mother Confirms Bandits Released One Kidnapped Kaduna Varsity Student To Family

4 May 2021 - 7:35am

One of the kidnapped students of Greenfield University in Kaduna State has been released by their abductors.

The mother of the student, Lauritta Attahiru on Tuesday confirmed the development to Channels TV, but the police have yet to confirm it. 

Attahiru however refused to give details of how her son was released and whether a ransom was paid or not.

Some of the parents told the station that the student was released on Saturday after his mother, who is the wife of a retired Army officer from Plateau State negotiated and paid ransom to the bandits privately before they released her son on Saturday.

The parents had earlier said the bandits had been negotiating with them individually, asking each of them to pay up to N20 million as ransom, before they later demanded a ransom of N100 million in lump sum and 10 motorcycles on Monday. 

The parents have appealed to the government and Nigerians to come to their aid so that their children will be rescued alive.

With the release of the student, the fate of the remaining 16 students still hangs in the balance.  See Also Boko Haram Boko Haram Kidnapped Greenfield University Students, Not Bandits — Sheikh Gumi 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

The bandits had hreatened to kill them if their parents and government failed to pay the N100 million ransom and also give them 10 new motorcycles.

Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Tuesday said the abductors of the students are Boko Haram terrorists and not just bandits. 

Gumi, in an interview with AIT said Boko Haram members were behind the abduction. 

When asked by the presenter if he indeed mentioned that Boko Haram was behind the abduction, Sheik Gumi said, ''Yes, really. When we tried to trace them and put some sense into them, the contact who is also a nomadic Fulani, they threatened him. They said if he insists on them they were going to catch him and he will have to pay a ransom before he gets out. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Three Abducted Greenfield University Students Have Been Killed 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“And the leader is from Jalingo. He is from Adamawa. He is not the local Fulani we have here. So this means that the Northeastern element is coming into this area and we have to move fast. We don't have that luxury of time. 

“I have been trying to speak with the government but nobody is really trying to listen to me or speak with me on this issue. We are trying to pacify and remove this banditry and they are responding.''

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#FindBoluwatife: How Missing Teenage Girl, Boluwatife Was Found Begging For Money

4 May 2021 - 7:04am

A 14-year-old girl, Boluwatife Adegoke, who was declared missing in Lagos with her case trending on Twitter was found on Monday.

Miss Adegoke was among the missing persons whose cases flooded Twitter after the murder of job-seeking, Ini Umoren as reported by SaharaReporters.

A Twitter user, identified as DARMIE (@TheOluwadarmie), revealed to SaharaReporters that Boluwatife was sent by her mother on Friday to withdraw money from the Automated Teller Machine of a bank nearby.

Her mother, Mrs Folashade Adegoke, however, cried out soon after when she could not find her daughter hours after she left home.

Adegoke disclosed that it was was not the first time Boluwatife would be send on such an errand. 

“This is not the first time. I have even sent her to withdraw more than the one I she went to withdrew last time and she doesn’t stay long. Our house to the bank is not far," the mother told News Digest,

However, the news of her missing child went viral until reports reached her that she was seen at Tinubu area of Lagos Island on Monday.

Speaking about her safe return, Adegoke said some men saw her loitering the streets and not in a mosque. 

“Some men told us she had been walking around those places (Tinubu area in Lagos), with the same clothes on her. I personally don’t know what might have happened to her but all she (Boluwatife) said was someone called her from the ATM. Eventually, she lost the money and my ATM card," the mother said.

“I’m sure you all are waiting to hear the news about how Bolu was found. She wasn’t at the mosque since on Friday. She has been walking around the streets.”

The woman went further to say her daughter was seen begging for money since the money and ATM card with her had gone.

“They said Bolu was found at Tinubu area early this morning (Monday) as she was asking for money to eat. Someone who know her told them not to give her that she knows her parents. I was really confused but I’m blessed I found her alive and safe,” Mrs Adegoke said.

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Boko Haram Kidnapped Greenfield University Students, Not Bandits — Sheikh Gumi

4 May 2021 - 6:51am

Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has stated that Boko Haram terrorists are the ones behind the abduction of students of Greenfield University, Kaduna.

Twenty-two students and a member of staff of the institution were abducted from the school campus along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on April 20 and within a week, five of them were killed.

In a recent interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA), a leader of the bandit group who identified himself as Sani Idris Jalingo, threatened that if the Kaduna State Government or their families failed to pay a ransom of N100 million as well as provide them with 10 brand Honda motorcycles by Tuesday, the remaining students would be killed.

Gumi, in an interview with AIT on Tuesday, said Boko Haram members were behind the abduction. 

When asked by the presenter if he indeed mentioned that Boko Haram was behind the abduction, Sheik Gumi said, ''Yes, really. When we tried to trace them and put some sense into them, the contact who is also a nomadic Fulani, they threatened him. They said if he insists on them they were going to catch him and he will have to pay a ransom before he gets out.

“And the leader is from Jalingo. He is from Adamawa. He is not the local Fulani we have here. So this means that the Northeastern element is coming into this area and we have to move fast. We don't have that luxury of time. 

“I have been trying to speak with the government but nobody is really trying to listen to me or speak with me on this issue. We are trying to pacify and remove this banditry and they are responding.''

In his reaction to the stance of the Kaduna state government against negotiating with bandits, Sheikh Gumi said, ''Five souls were killed. Why? What amount of money is too big for us to save the lives of those five students, what amount of money? Secondly, we can give them the money to get the boys out of danger then go after our money. Nobody is saying you shouldn't find them, you can get the two back. 

“To say you will not negotiate with them and also not take action against them, I cannot understand that.''


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Bandits Abduct Miyetti Allah Chairman In Kogi

4 May 2021 - 6:42am


Unknown gunmen have kidnapped the Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Kogi state, Wakili Damina.

According to the state secretary of MACBAN, Adamu Abubakar, Damina was abducted on April 30 by some armed men dressed in army camouflage.

Gunmen Google

He noted that witnesses said the abductors, numbering about eight, came in a white bus around 12 noon to forcefully take away the chairman from his house at Chikara village, Kogi Local Government Area.

Abubakar said he was informed of the incident about an hour later by the younger brother of Damina, who claimed he witnessed the incident.

The secretary said he immediately called the phone number of the missing chairman, but it rang out.

He said Damina’s mobile telephone was switched off when he celled about an hour later.

“Since then, his lines have not been reachable and all efforts to know his whereabouts have proved abortive,” he said.

He said he and some members of the association visited the Nigeria Police Force headquarters, Abuja, to know if Damina was in their custody but they said no.

He said a search party set up by MACBAN had visited other places, including abattoirs in and around Abuja but there no success.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba, confirmed the incident.

He said the police had yet to locate the whereabouts of the chairman.


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BREAKING: ‘Disgruntled Religious And Political Leaders’ Plotting Illegal Confab To Overthrow Buhari ― Presidency

4 May 2021 - 6:33am

The Presidency has said some “disgruntled religious and past political leaders” are plotting to convene an illegal National Conference where a vote of no confidence would be passed on President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to overthrowing his government.

It said the purpose of the move was to further throw the country into turmoil.

SaharaReporters Media

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

The Presidency accused the unnamed religious leaders and past political leaders of planning to wreak havoc on the nation’s sovereignty and the corporate existence of the country.

It said working with foreign elements, the disgruntled elements are trying to achieve what they could not during the last election and warned them that their action would be treasonable.

The statement read, “The Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.

“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.

“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.

“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.

“These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country. But the Presidency, already vested with mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, pledges to keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.”

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Nigerian Lawmaker Allegedly Distributes Expired Rice As Ramadan Package

4 May 2021 - 6:22am

The federal lawmaker representing Funtua/Dandume Federal Constituency, Honorable Mukhtar Muhammad Dandutse has allegedly distributed expired rice as Ramadan package to his constituents.

According to Katsina Post, the expired rice, packaged in a maize sack was first shared by one Yahaya Shehu who claimed to be the neighbour of the lawmaker and who also got a bag of the Ramadan package from him.

Shehu wrote (in Hausa) that he collected the rice as his share of the Ramadan package as a neighbour of Dandutse. He also thanked him for gesture.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker has been under fire for some days now especially on social media platforms for his action.

In 2020, Senator Mohammed Musa, lawmaker representing Niger East District in the Senate, also allegedly distributed poisonous rice as palliative and Ramadan gifts to members of his constituency.

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Dismissed Soldier Leads Kidnappers, Kills Five-Year-Old Boy After Collecting N5million

4 May 2021 - 5:58am

Dismissed Soldier, Galadima

The boy

A dismissed soldier of the Nigerian Army, Galadima Sani, has taken to kidnapping, leading a gang to abduct and kill a five-year-old boy after the family had paid N5 million ransom.

SaharaReporters learnt that Lance Corporal Sani was dismissed from the Nigerian Army about five years ago for armed robbery, but the military authorities failed to hand him over to the police for prosecution.

Dismissed Soldier, Galadima

It was gathered from a witness that the dismissed soldier abducted the five-year-old boy, identified only as Muhammad, last week.

Sources said the gang had reached out to the parents, who agreed to come with a ransom of N5 million.

It was learnt that after the money was paid, Muhammad was still killed because he reportedly recognised the dismissed soldier, Sani, who took him away to the kidnappers.

The boy

The incident was shared on Twitter by a witness, Olusegun Ogunyemi, who narrated that the dismissed soldier and the boy’s family were neighbours and the boy was killed because he recognised Sani.

He said, “Face of evil...Galadima, who kidnapped and killed his neighbours son after collecting N5 million ransom. No more under the army, he was booted out of the service long ago according to findings. The The little boy named Muhammad was reportedly kidnapped last week by his neighbour. His parents paid N5 million, but he was still killed because he recognised the neighbour that took him to the kidnappers. Please be very careful. There are evil and dangerous people out there.”

“He is not a serving army personnel, he is not a senior officer, but on the other rank. He was sent out of service for armed robbery some years back,” a commentator replied.

“Point of correction, he was a lance corporal. 'One rope' by army standard, he is not even ranked but 'appointed' note; this is one of those rogues in uniform that make Nigerians think that army officers have a hand in insecurities in Nigeria,” another said.

“Nigeria is a crime scene. The culture and religions encourage crime. How can a man be released from the army for armed robbery to the civilian world without sending him to jail? Forgiving criminals of their evil art without consequences breeds a society full of criminals,” another commentator lamented.

“Sent out of the army for robbery and he wasn't jailed. They made it possible for him to kill that child,” another Nigerian wrote.

“Point of correction. He was a dismissed army personnel, not a serving army officer. The incident happened in my community,” another commentator, Rilwanu Abubakar, said.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, could not be reached for comments on when the soldier was dismissed, and why he was not handed over to the police for trial. 

Calls made to his line on Monday and Tuesday were not answered and a message sent to his line had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing this report.

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Five Ezza Residents Who Fled Communal Crisis In Ebonyi Killed In Benue

4 May 2021 - 5:58am

Injured Catholic priest

No fewer than five indigenes of the Ezza-Effium community in Ebonyi State, who fled to the Nwokwo Odoke area of Benue state, have been killed by gunmen.

An Ezza-Effium indigene, who is also a security personnel explained to SaharaReporters that the victims were attacked by Uffium militants in a communal crisis that has remained unresolved.

According to him, the victims fled their hometown in the South-East due to the level of insecurity in the area and had fled to a border community, Nwoko Odoke under the Ado Local Government Area of Benue state but were still attacked.

He said, “Uffium militants attacked Nwokwo Odoke on Sunday and killed five indigenes of Ezza-Effium that fled Ebonyi to Ado Local Government of Benue State. A Catholic priest was also injured.”

Injured Catholic priest

SaharaReporters can recall that there has been a lingering communal crisis between Ezza-Effium and Effium people of the Ohuakwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State since January 2021, which resulted in the death of innocent persons and destruction of property worth millions of naira."

He said Ezza-Effium indigenes are at the core of insecurity challenges in the North as they not only suffer from herdsmen attacks but are also at the risk of being murdered by their kinsmen over land disputes.
During the Easter Break, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who visited the areas, assessed the level of damage caused by the conflict and promised that the Federal Government will do everything to ensure that security is beefed up in the communities.

He also stated that victims will get justice. He condemned the attacks, and sympathised with the victims, describing such acts as cowardly, wicked, and “very deeply distressing.” 

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Why Biafra Sit-At-Home Day Was Moved To May 31 —IPOB

4 May 2021 - 5:49am

The Indigenous People of Biafra has directed its members across the globe to observe sit-at-home on the last day of May in honour of fallen heroes.


Members of the IPOB, thus, will observe the Biafra Remembrance Day on May 31 as against what was originally planned to be May 30.

The new development was contained in a statement issued by the Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful on Tuesday.


“We, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great and indomitable leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce that this year's Biafra Remembrance Day sit-at-home will now hold on Monday, May 31, and not Sunday, May 30 as earlier directed. The modification is following genuine observations about our earlier directive as many of our people observe Sundays as a day of worship.


“There will be a partial observation of the Biafra Day on May 30th. But there will be a total lockdown and sit-at-home on Monday 31st of May.


“We, therefore, expect Biafrans all over the world to stay indoors on May 31 for the respect and honour of our fallen heroes and heroines who paid the supreme price for us to live. It is our right to remember them for defending the genocidal attacks given to our people between 1967 and 1970 by Fulani Jihadists supported by the British government.


“Consequently, all commercial activities must be shut down on 31st of May throughout the land of Biafra. There should be no vehicular movement on that day on Biafra roads. Transport companies must withdraw from the road on that day. National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW); National Associations of Road Transport Owners (NURTO); and others are expected to fully comply with this directive,” the statement partly read.


The pro-Biafra group continued reminded its members in Nigeria that all socio-economic and political activities should be ignored while those residing overseas should hold peaceful rallies on that day to honour its slain warriors.


“In the same vein, artisans and traders must close their shops on that day. Airports, seaports, banks and financial institutions should all shut down in honour of our fallen heroes and heroines.


“Okada and tricycle (riders) organisations are also advised to withdraw from roads on that day. There shall be no social gatherings or events including burials, weddings on that day from 6 am to 6 pm.


“Parents are advised not to send their children to school on that day as no one is expected to be seen outside. Full compliance is expected from all.


“Biafrans in Diaspora are to hold peaceful rallies in their countries of abode,” the IPOB said.

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#JusticeforHinyHumoren: Uyo University Students Organise Procession For Slain Colleague, Umoren

4 May 2021 - 5:46am

Students of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State have started a procession for a slain alumnus of the institution, Iniubong Umoren, a fresh graduate of the school killed by someone who posed as a prospective employer.

The aggrieved students were seen in their numbers wearing black attire to symbolise mourning.

Umoren, a 26-year-old graduate of the university, who was also an orphan, had dropped a tweet on her handle last Tuesday seeking a job. 

Her tweet attracted many replies.

She wrote, “#AkwaIbomTwitter please I'm really in need of a job, something to do to keep mind and soul together while contributing dutifully to the organisation. My location is Uyo, I'm creative, really good at thinking critically and most importantly a fast learner. CV available on request.”

She was allegedly invited by a young man, Frank Ezekiel Akpan, suspected to have kidnapped her as she could not be reached on her mobile line.

Umoren's friend, Umoh Uduak, had consequently pleaded for help on social media, after which Nigerians started tracking the location, phone number and other details of the suspect.

Following available leads, men of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Akwa Ibom Police Command arrested the perpetrator who confessed that he lured his victim to his house in the guise of giving her a job but ended up sexually and physically assaulting her, which led to her death.

This was confirmed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko MacDon, in a statement confirming the incident and the subsequent arrest of the suspect, Frank Akpan to newsmen on Sunday. He said the culprit confessed to the crime.

A Twitter user, @Belyn_da, on Tuesday explained that the school authority kicked against the procession initially.

She posted, “The procession won't hold because the Dean said he wasn't informed neither was the Vice-Chancellor."

Some Nigerians under her tweet questioned if there ought to be any official information before such a procession.

She later stated that the school management was deliberating on if the students should go on with their procession.

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Kogi Governor, Bello Says APC' Six-Year Rule Better Than PDP's 16 Years

4 May 2021 - 5:42am

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said the ruling All Progressives Congress has performed creditably well in six years of ruling, and better that the 16-year performance by the Peoples Democratic Party, despite current widespread insecurity across the country.

The governor also threw his weight behind Nigerian youths, saying they should occupy the seats of governance in the country and address its numerous challenges.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

Bello said the current leaders in all facets have failed the younger generations, and as such the onus lies on youths to ensure that Nigeria gets better.

The governor said this during Sunrise Daily programme of the Channels TV monitored by SaharaReporters on Tuesday.

He went further to call on the President Muhammadu Buhari to assign leadership roles to youths as he did with the appointment of 41-year-old Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“I want to believe that Mr President is listening. We all know that Mr President loves Nigeria and loves Nigerian youths. Our leaders have misled before today. Mr President, I’ve decided that youths come on board and (hence signing not your bill). And even ensuring that younger generations are given positions of authorities as it is with EFCC boss right now.

“It is time that we allowed the younger generations to take charge and fix this country. If our leaders, elders and seniors fail us, we the younger generations should not fail ourselves. Let our attention not be diverted on issues of insecurity and other mundane issues. We should call ourselves together as Nigerians energetic, forcefully and let’s fix this country as opportunity is presenting itself. It is just a matter of days, weeks and months away. I believe we should be able to get this country fixed,” Bello said.

Speaking on the scoresheet of the All Progressives Congress vis-à-vis the Peoples Democratic Party in terms of security and other areas of national issues, Bello insisted that the ruling APC has outwitted the main opposition party. He, however, added that national headache should not be treated with the blame game, rather seen as a collective burden of all regardless of partisan politics.


“Now, you are talking about my party for being in charge for six years. Yes, APC has been in charge of Nigeria or the government. We are have recorded huge successes in various other areas even including this insecurity. Daily bombings are no longer happening. APC inherited a challenge and we are trying our best to ensure that the challenges are reduced to the barest minimum.


“So, we shouldn’t just limit it to APC. That’s why I continue to say look, the challenges that have faced this country today. We should take it off partisan politics or political parties. And let us put our hands on deck to solve these problems. The APC successes in 6 years outnumber or outweigh that of PDP for 16 years that they ruled.


“Even statistics are there. If the honourable minister of information is not saying it, I want to believe very soon we will articulate all of these things and remind Nigerians of where APC inherited Nigeria and where we are today and we should ascribe it to the issue of the political party. Of course, within our party, there are those who are not doing things the way they should be, so it is in all other political parties, even when PDP was in power. But, largely APC has performed beyond what PDP achieved in their 16 years of governance in Nigeria,” the governor said. 

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Panic, Anger As Bandits Threaten To Kill Abducted Kaduna Varsity Students Today Despite Taking N55million Ransom

4 May 2021 - 5:37am

Leader of the bandits who abducted students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, Sani Jalingo, on Monday threatened to kill the remaining students held captive by his gang if a ransom of N100 million was not paid latest today (Tuesday).


The bandits had earlier demanded N800 million ransom after about 23 of the students were kidnapped in their hostels on April 20, 2023.

Five of the students have already been killed, with their remains dumped in villages close to the private university on the outskirts of Kaduna.


Jalingo, who issued the threat on VOA Hausa Service programme said the five students were killed to prove that the state and the federal governments had failed.

See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Frustrated Parents Of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest In Abuja 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

He insisted that a ransom of N100 million and 10 motorcycles must be provided for the other students to stay alive.


Jalingo further disclosed that the families of the remaining students had so far paid N55 million. He said the money was used to feed the abductees.


He said, “We heard the utterances of the Kaduna State governor that he will not pay ransom to bandits to purchase additional arms.


“He also said he told his family that he will not pay ransom if any of them is kidnapped. So, we want to show that the Nigerian government has failed, that is why we killed the students.


“You will use trucks to carry the dead bodies of the remaining students. 17 of the students, 15 females and two males, are with us. The families of the remaining students paid N55 million to us.”


One of the students, Abigail Usman, who spoke during the telephone conversation, appealed to the government to pay the ransom and secure their release.


“If they don’t get the money, they will kill us all,” Usman said.


Meanwhile, some Nigerians on social media have lambasted the government and security operatives for contributing to problem of insecurity by “pampering repentant bandits". 


“When they started pampering 'repentant bandits', I cried out. Repentance is unto God not man. Then they started paying bandits. Now it has become a lucrative business for trigger-happy fellows and enemies of our collective patrimony.

‪#Greenfielduniversity‬ is priority,” Johnson Suleman, general overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, posted on his verified Twitter account.


A social media influencer, @aproko_doctor posted, “We created this monster currently, paying kidnappers and pampering repentant terrorists. Now some students of ‪#Greenfielduniversity‬ may pay for the government's inability to protect them with their lives.”


@IamBugzy wrote, “These ‪#Greenfielduniversity‬ abductors have gotten N55 million. How was these humongous amount gotten across to them? They are contacting the relatives of the abductees by phone and yet these lines can’t be traced. What exactly is DSS (Department of State Services) doing?”


@ayemojubar said, “Bandits threatened to kill abducted ‪#GreenfieldUniversity‬ students today, yet not a word from your president while his VP (Vice President) was also busy chasing Microsoft.”


Another Twitter user, @BIGGESTBOUNCING wrote, “The Nigerian Govt doesn't care about the safety of her citizens, I say this because a chopper could be deployed to rescue Chinese citizens instantly but our own students are getting killed for ransom and the Govt has been powerless‪. #Greenfielduniversity.”

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Lagos Prepares For Third Wave Of COVID-19 From Suspected Foreign Travellers

4 May 2021 - 5:26am

The Lagos State Government has said it is putting facilities in place on high alert to pick up early trends that may suggest a third wave of COVID-19 in the state.


Professor Akin Abayomi, the state’s Commissioner for Health, in a statement on Monday, said the state was set to take steps to prevent another wave of COVID-19, following the flattening of the second wave.

Google/Time Q

Mr Abayomi warned that a trigger for a third wave of COVID-19 in Lagos was likely to be importation of new COVID-19 strains from inbound travellers.


He noted that all strides gained in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic would be lost without improved border surveillance against the importation of new and mutant strains, which may trigger a third wave.


“Currently, countries like India, Brazil, Argentina, Iraq, Qatar, Peru and Uruguay are being ravaged by a vicious third or fourth wave following a less active and insignificant second or third wave.


“The latest wave in India has been proven to be as a result of new mutant strains that have resulted in a dramatic increase in sickness and death for two weeks running.


“Whilst we commiserate with countries like these, it is important that we protect our environment and residents against this virus.


“Especially as we have only less than one per cent of our population that have received their first dose of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine similar to India that has about eight per cent,” he said.


Mr Abayomi said the state government had authorised immediate measures to fully enforce recent the protocol announced by the federal government for every inbound traveler.


According to him, the protocols include banning entry to non-Nigerian passengers who have been in Brazil, India or Turkey in the last fortnight due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the three countries.


“All passengers arriving in Nigeria will now have to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel rather than the previous 96 hours period.


“I have hence instructed that all these protocols would be made more stringent to protect the residents of Lagos State from an impending third wave.


“As part of these protocols, passengers are to mandatorily isolate for the required seven days and will be strictly monitored through phone calls by our EKOTELEMED platform and physical visits to the passengers’ homes by our surveillance teams,” he said.


The commissioner added that defaulters would be fined, while the passports of the indigenous passengers would be forwarded to the authorities for deactivation and foreigners may be subject to deportation.


According to him, the state will also improve its capacity to conduct additional analysis on all positive cases to assist in determining the predominant strains in the environment.


Mr Abayomi advised residents not to assume the worst was over by going on without adhering to any precautionary measures.

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#JusticeforHinyUmoren: Local Government Chairman Counters Police, Denies Ties With Prime Murder Suspect, Akpan

4 May 2021 - 5:09am

Chairman of Uruan Local Government Area, Iniobong Ekpenyong has denied claims that the suspect in the murder of a Job-Seeker who initially went missing before being found dead, Uduak Friday Akpan, confessed to him before escaping to Calabar as alleged by the police. 


Akpan is a prime suspect in the murder of a 26-year-old graduate of the University of Uyo, Iniubong Umoren, who he lured with a job offer only to rape, kill and bury her in a shallow grave.

Ekpenyong, in a statement on Tuesday, said the quoted portion of the press statement by the Police Public Relations Office, which noted that the suspect had confessed to him was not true.


The local council boss said this not only portrays him as a partner in crime but also capable of smearing his reputation.

See Also News Missing Akwa Ibom Job Seeker Found Dead, Friend Says She Was Raped, Killed, Buried In Shallow Grave 0 Comments 4 Days Ago

According to him, he first got to know about the incident on Friday, when he received a call that an elderly man in his community was arrested and detained by the police on account of a crime allegedly committed by the man’s son, who had been declared wanted by the police. 

He said the person was seeking his intervention to inform the police that the detained man was in a dire medical condition and should be given access to his medication, stating that the police had insisted on detaining him until the absconded son identified as Akpan was produced.


The Chairman said he immediately swung into action to facilitate the arrest of the suspect and the effort paid off as the suspect who had earlier hinted that he was at a location in Oron Local Government Area was successfully arrested by the Divisional Police Officer of Uruan following trails facilitated by him and other machinery put in place by the police. 


He added that the suspect was still denying his role on the trending abduction story but was persuaded to turn himself in, to clear his name, if he was truly innocent.


A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko MacDon, mentioned that the suspect had confessed to Ekpeyong but was not handed over to the police.


The statement read, “The Akwa Ibom State Police Command has arrested one Uduak Frank Akpan, 20 years old for kidnapping, raping and murdering one Miss Iniobong Umoren. On 30/04/2021, the Command received a report on the disappearance of the victim.


“Following available leads, men of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Command, led by CSP Inengiye Igosi, consolidated on the initial great progress made by the Divisional Police Officer Uruan, SP Samuel Ezeugo and arrested the perpetrator who confessed to having lured his victim to his house in the guise of giving her a job but ended up sexually and physically assaulting her which led to her death. 


“To cover his tracks, he dragged and buried her in a shallow grave in his father’s compound. The deceased has been exhumed and deposited at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) for autopsy.


“The suspect confessed to have told his Local Government Chairman of his atrocity before escaping to Calabar and was never at any time handed over to the police by anyone. The suspect is a confessed serial rapist who has owned up to the raping of other victims. He will be charged to court at the conclusion of the investigation. 


“The Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme has called on youths and job seekers to be wary of the activities of scammers and other men of the underworld. while appreciating the efforts of the social media family and other fighters of injustice, he has condoled with the family and friends of the deceased.”

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BREAKING: Frustrated Parents Of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest In Abuja

4 May 2021 - 4:42am

Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State on Tuesday protested at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the school also took part in the protest. 

The protesters chanted solidarity songs and displayed placards to express their disappointment with the way the Nigerian government has handled the abduction of their children and colleagues. 

They accused the government of negligence. 

Human rights activists, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju, who joined in the protest also expressed disappointment with the handling of security by the government. 

PHOTONEWS: Parents Of Kidnapped Kaduna Students Storm National Assembly, Demand Return Of Children, End To Insecurity | Sahara Reporters #BringBackOurStudents

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) May 4, 2021

However, security operatives at the entrance of the Assembly complex denied the protesters access into the premises. 

Thrity-nine students of the school were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform on March 11. Ten of them were later released in two batches of five each, leaving 29 students with their abductors. 

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INEC Chairman, Yakubu Under Pressure To Preserve Voting Model That Gives Northern Nigeria Political Advantage

4 May 2021 - 4:31am

Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission is set to establish more polling units across Nigeria as it has adjusted its thresholds for voting points and there is pressure on its Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, already to ensure the new model does not take political advantage away from the Northern region, SaharaReporters has learnt.


The adjustment, according to a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, reduces the lower and upper thresholds for voting points from 750 and 1, 000 registered voters to 500 and 750 voters respectively.

Mahmood Yakubu

The commission made the adjustment in April at a meeting where it deliberated on the conversion of voting points to polling units.


Section 42 of the Electoral Act mandates INEC to “establish a sufficient number of polling units in each Registration Area and allot voters to such polling units.”



During the latest consultation with stakeholders, it was agreed that a polling unit should have no more than 1, 000 voters and no fewer than 750 registered voters.



According to reports, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on March 2, issued the Guidelines for Expanding Access to Polling Units, which contain the thresholds for voting points agreed with the stakeholders.


A memorandum issued from the Director, of the Commission's Secretariat, Maryam Iya Musa to its secretary, INEC/DE/No: 72/2021 read, “Decision extract on the amendment of the threshold for the conversion of voting points to polling units.


“The Commission at its meeting held on Tuesday 20th April 2021 deliberated on the above subject and approved as follows: The adjustment of the lower and upper thresholds for Voting Points from 750 and 1,000 to 500 and 750 voters respectively. 



“That the ICT and Electoral Operations Departments and the State and Local Government Area offices of the Commission should adopt these new thresholds in implementing the ongoing programme of expanding voter access to polling units.


“You may wish to refer the extract to all Resident Electoral Commissioners(RECs) and Directors for information and necessary action, please.”


An INEC document obtained by SaharaReporters, titled 'Electoral Breadown', show with the move, a total of 119, 973 polling units, 57,023 voting points and 84, 004, 084 registered voters. 


This is broken down into states and six geopolitical zones – South South, South-West, South East, North East, North West and North Central. 


South South, with six states and a total of 12, 841, 279 registered voters, will have 17, 760 polling units and 9,366 voting points. 


South West has 16, 292, 212 registered voters to 24, 672 polling units and 10,229 voting points. The South East, which has the lowest number of registered voters, 10,057,130, has 15,549 polling units and 6,082 voting points. 


In the North, the North West which has the maximum number of registered voters in the country, 20,158,100, has 29,552 polling units and 12,119 voting points. 


The North Central, including the Federal Capital Territory, has 13, 394, 634 registered voters, 11, 549 polling units and 11,681 voting points. Meanwhile, the North East, the zone with the lowest number of registered voters in the North with 11, 289, 293, has 16,460 polling units and 7,546.


The state with the highest number of registered voters is Lagos –6, 570, 291 and next to Lagos is Kano, with 5, 457,747 registered voters. 


And while Lagos has 8, 462 polling units and 4,863 voter points, Kano has 8,074 polling units and 3,148 voting points. 


Ekiti and Bayelsa states have the lowest figures for registered voters with 909,967 and 923,182 respectively. 


However, a source in INEC told SaharaReporters that implementation will be particularly important as some people are already attempting to subvert the process to give undue advantage to the North. 


The source said, "Professor Mahmood Yakubu has started a good thing with the formula he adopted for creating new polling units at INEC. Leading the INEC board, he directed that to simplify the creation of new polling units, voting points created from overcrowded old polling units should be converted to new polling units.


"The voting points are already known with locations and numbers, they have been tested already in on-cycle and off-cycle elections, nothing much will change by using them. But there are growing fears that Professor Yakubu is about to derail this simple and predictable solution.


"The solution is a predictable measure in which the only expected change will be to decentralise the new polling units from the voting points to areas closer to voters who walked long distances to vote at the old polling units in preceding elections, but at the last minute it seems he is being tempted by the narrow political interests that torpedoed the efforts of Professor Attahiru Jega (immediate former INEC chairman), and he appears set like Jega to flounder, fumble and flop, if he allows himself to be captured by these regressive forces.


"For over 25 years, INEC has been unable to do the simple de-concentration of polling units characterising election days, as new eligible voters that join the number of registered voters are cramped into the old polling units with voting population increasing and the numbers swelling. It became unmanageable in many Voter Registration Areas. 


"At every attempt to create more polling units to manage these growing numbers, political elites, regional bigots and partisan voting machine middle men seize the opportunity to try to leverage their voting advantages. The consequence is strife, social and political upheavals and public outcry arising from mistrust. Professor Jega ruined it finally when he tried to impose 30,000 new polling units, using arbitrary criteria that disproportionately allotted more polling units to the Northern geopolitical zones, allotting more polling units to one zone in the North than two Southern geo-political zones put together.


"What INEC has schemed by the available data is to convert every polling unit where there are 1, 500 voters to be divided into three polling units which are equivalent to the voting points of the polling units containing 500 voters each.

But realising that this may spread the polling units more equitably, the regressive forces of old, are trying to influence INEC to raise the bar of criteria to 1, 900 voters instead of 500, in which case, less polling units will be created from many centres despite being overcrowded. 


"Such a development will be explosive and politically hazardous because the voter registers of such states are often questioned with allegations that some of such polling registers were fraudulently populated with ineligible voters such as underage voters and foreigners from other countries."


The source added that many stakeholders are monitoring INEC to see what directive it will communicate for implementation. 


The source said, "Using the simple predictable formula will require INEC state office to list suggested new locations to de-concentrate the overcrowded polling units to ensure that number of voters whose registration addresses indicate that most of them come from far but similar locations can be used to optimise the new locations of the newly created polling units.

"It is left to be seen if Prof. Yakubu will decide to swim in the fresh calm waters or dive into the hot, salty and turbulent waters of polling unit controversy that almost consumed Professor Jega. If this is the case, we have to ask 'why is the criteria of 1, 900 instead of 500 voters being consider for new polling units by INEC and if this new criteria will help INEC to achieve the goal of more manageable voter number per polling unit."

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Federal Road Safety Corps Ignores Nigerian Government Directive On HND, BSc Dichotomy Five Years After Directive

4 May 2021 - 4:27am

There is a growing disquiet among officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) over the failure of the authorities of the corps to implement the directive of the Nigerian government that all para-military outfits to remove the dichotomy between Higher National Degree (HND) and bachelor degree (BSc) holders in their services.


The National Council of Establishment (NCE) had five years ago during its 39th meeting resolved that BSc and HND holders should both enter the civil service on Grade Level 08.

Years after the Minna meeting, SaharaReporters gathered that FRSC is yet to comply with the restoration of parity between graduates of polytechnics and university graduates.


In a circular in July 2017, the then Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, gave approval for the abolition of the dichotomy in all the paramilitary services, in compliance with the NCE resolution.


He directed that all officers with HND were to be upgraded to COMPASS 08, which is the Salary Grade Level for holders of Degree certificates at entry point.


“The nomenclature for the HND holders will start with the Rank of Senior Inspector, the Degree holders are with the rank of Assistant Superintendent II,” the then minister had said in the circular.


While other para-military agencies under the Ministry have since complied with the directive, FRSC has yet to follow suit.


Some of the affected officers said the non-compliance with the directive is already breeding infighting and indiscipline among officers of different cadres.


“Years after this issue was done and dusted in other agencies, FRSC first placed all HND holders (except those who were on level 8 or above at the time) who were wearing on different ranks and on different salary grade levels in the Inspectorate Cadre (other ranks) on the same level, level 8 but not in the commissioned officers cadre. 


“Hence, there was still dichotomy. It might interest you to know that ab initio there were segregations in FRSC. While a newly employed BSc holder is made a commissioned officer upon entry and placed on level 8, some of their HND counterparts (said to have studied professional courses - Engineering, Accounting, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences among others) are placed on the inspectorate cadre (other ranks) on level 8 and the remaining (who didn't study professional courses according to them such as Banking and Finance, Business Management, Insurance, Public Administration etc.) are placed on the inspectorate cadre but on level 7.


“There is still a third cadre (road marshal assistant cadre) with level 8 being the highest salary grade level there. Hence, FRSC has three (3) different level 8 in 3 different cadres, two different level 9 - 13 in 2 different cadres and two (2) different level 7 in 2 different cadres.


“It took over two years before the mother of all injustices now occured in the FRSC. It is to have compulsorily and with deceit converted all holders of HND at the point of entry to the Officers Cade and to level 8 notwithstanding their initial salary grade levels (some were on 10 and have completed the compulsory waiting period for promotion and due to go for promotion exercise to the next rank and salary grade level of 11 (another lacuna because salary grade 11 doesn't exist in the Public Service but only in FRSC, the purported elite corps). Hence, instead of supposed proper placement, it was demotion for these class of officers.


“The FRSC Management had among many other memos released one on 20th January, 2021 on this matter titled Re: Harmonisation of ranks of HND holders in the corps in line with the ranking structures of the police and other sister paramilitary agencies. It was with reference FRSC/HQ/CS/94/VOL.1/80. It was signed by Susan A. Ajenge, mni, an Assistant Corps Marshal who is the Corps Secretary, for: The Corps Marshal. She is a high ranking management member. The first paragraph of this memo reads -


“Management at its meeting of Wednesday, 13 January 2021 decided on the issue of harmonisation of ranks in respect of HND holders in the Corps in compliance with Federal Government circulars as follows: Marshals recruited with HND as their highest qualification at the point of entry will be granted lateral conversion based on the following conditions:


“The conditions which are three are as follows: a two week-conversion course will be organised for affected staff

ii) they shall loose one year of seniority and iii) original HND certificate must be sighted (mandatory). Lateral conversion refers to when an employee moves from one position to another _position at the same pay grade_ within an organisation. 


“Moving from level 10 or 9 in the inspectorate cadre to level 8 in the officers cadre is certainly not what is meant by lateral conversion. The rank for level 8 in the officers cadre in FRSC is one star named assistant route commander (ARC). For level 9 is deputy route commander (DRC) and level 10 is route commander (RC). The implication of this anormally among others is that:


“There are now ARCs on level 8 (normal) and levels 9 and 10 (abnormal). As this was for all HND holders recruited in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 who were all on different salary grade levels and ranks, now, they are all on the same ranks of ARC on salary grade level 8. You can imagine! It took 10 years for the 2011 intake to get to their present rank and grade level (level 10) before the said conversion. For those of 2012, they have invested 9 years in the Corps and it is 8 years for those of 2013 while others recruited in 2019 with less than 2 years work experience (who have not even had their appointments confirmed and on salary grade level 8) will now all be on the same rank of ARC. Why? What will become of the ten (10), nine (9), eight (8) years and so on of dedicated service they have put into the Corps? 


“It will take the 2011 intake for instance another 10 years to reach their present salary grade level 10 before the said conversion, 9 years for the 2012, 8 years for the 2013 and so on. This is not just evil and wicked, it is satanic, grossly unfair, and ultimately the common cause of indiscipline/ insubordination in the Corps over the years,” an affected officer told SaharaReporters.


Another officer urged the management of the FRSC to without delay properly place all recently converted HND holders to the rank equivalent to their last rank as Inspectors in the oficers cadre.


“Not until this happens, the truth and the wicked plus evil ones will never rest as the truth will keep pricking the hearts and minds of the FRSC management.


“The general public, well meaning Nigerians, Corps Marshal and FRSC management team, Head of Service of the Fedreration, members of the National Assembly, Chairman of the FRSC Board, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and President and Commander-in-Chief should please help to right this wrong,” he said.

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Nigerian Government To Arraign 400 Suspected Boko Haram Sponsors 'As Quickly As Possible'

4 May 2021 - 3:04am

The Nigerian government is set to arraign about 400 alleged Boko Haram sponsors and financiers arrested in a nationwide operation last month, the PUNCH reports.

The businessmen, who included bureau de change operators, were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

It was gathered on Monday that criminal charges bordering on terrorism were already being prepared against them as investigations continued into their nefarious activities.

The arrest of the men was sequel to the jailing of six Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates over allegations of terrorism financing.

The media aide to the Minister of Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu on Monday said that the prosecution of the suspects “will commence as quickly as possible.”

Gwandu hinted that charges would soon be preferred against the suspects but he declined further comment when asked for update on the investigation.

But findings indicated that the government was still probing the level of the businessmen’s connections to the terrorist group.

Daily Trust had reported the arrest of the 400 suspected terror financiers by the Defence Intelligence Agency in collaboration with the Department of State Services, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As part of the crackdown, billions of naira traced to businesses belonging to persons of interest were said to have been blocked in banks in series of “post no debit” letters sent out to banks by the CBN and NFIU.

The apex bank had reportedly obtained court orders directing the freezing of dozens of accounts flagged for suspicious transactions.

The operation kicked off last year with massive gathering and analysis of financial intelligence and uplink analysis, leading to initial marking of some 60 businesses and individuals.

The list of affected persons comprised bureau de change operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen suspected to have links with the Boko Haram insurgents.

In Kano, a major focus for the operation, some traders at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were reportedly picked up on March 9th, 15th and 16th.

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2023: Why PDP Considers Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal As Possible Presidential Candidates

4 May 2021 - 2:52am

The 2023 presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party has three major contenders: former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

According to a report by Daily Independent, a former senator and member of the party’s Board of Trustees, said, with the time restraint to the election and the timetable announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, it will be difficult for a new entrant to join the presidential race. 

He also added that PDP leaders in their quest to give the 2023 election their best shot have decided that they must field a “known name whose antecedent and capability is well known”. 

He said a new entrant may only join the race if the PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South, which is unlikely. 

He said, “The primaries will be held either in June 2022, going by the proposed Electoral Act under consideration by the National Assembly or latest by October, if the existing law is applied. That leaves either 13 months or 17 months for any entrant into the race.  

“The time appears too short for a new entrant. The resources and structure necessary for a good race may also not be readily available now for any new candidate. 

“More importantly, PDP leaders have decided that they must take a known name whose antecedent and capability is well known. 

“The only reason why a newcomer may come in is if the party eventually decides to go to the South to shop for a candidate. That is if the party eventually zones the ticket to the South. Former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, may come into the race. He is a known name who also featured in the last ticket of the party as running mate. 

“Outside these calculations, it is almost impossible for any new entrant to make any serious impact in the presidential race. 

“Between Atiku, Tambuwal and Saraki, they already have the potential delegates committed to them. They also have the resources and the key contacts that are supporting them and ready to go on mobilisation efforts. 

“What is not clear is if Atiku who came first in the presidential primaries of 2018 will retain that position, if Tambuwal who came second in 2018 will become the flagbearer or if Saraki who came third then will overtake the other two and come first. 

“It will be interesting to see the three leading aspirants trying to outdo each other to get the party’s ticket as the PDP has a good chance to win the presidential race in 2023 judging by development in both the ruling political party and the polity," he said. 

In October 2018, the trio were the top contenders in the presidential primary of the PDP held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to determine PDP’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

While Atiku polled 1,532 votes to emerge the winner of the primary, Tambuwal garnered 693 votes to place second while Saraki came third with 317 votes.

Although the 2019 Election Review Committee of the party led by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State had asked the party to throw open the contest for the party’s presidential ticket in 2023 to all qualified aspirants, there are feelers that many of the powerbrokers of the party want the North to produce the candidate. 

On the chances of former Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the source, said, “As it is today, Kwankwaso that would have also broken the ranks of the trio of Atiku, Tambuwal and Saraki, is said to be too limited by the restrictive nature of his political structure which is known only in Kano. 

“Though he has the Kwankwasiyya group in some states of the federation, he is only on the ground in Kano State and how can that help a nationwide presidential campaign?” he asked. 

“More importantly, his recent problems with top PDP leaders like Ambassador Aminu Wali and his group over zonal party leadership will also do more damage to his suitability as party flag bearer.” 

Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former Minister of Transport, said the leadership of the PDP will be wasting its time if it fields a candidate that is not capable of winning elections. 

He said the party must field a candidate that is acceptable to all Nigerians and one that will shun tribal, religious sentiments and unite the country. 

“We must choose a candidate that will cut across party affiliations, party interests and appeals to all Nigerians. If we don’t do that, then we will be destroying ourselves because the PDP has got the last chance to let Nigerians know that they really want to return to power. 

“We must present a candidate that will shun tribal, religious sentiments and he must be a candidate that wants to win for the party. The party itself must do all it can to ensure that we have a candidate that wants to win the election for it. 

“If we don’t do that, we will lose grip of the situation and eventually lose the election and that will be very disastrous.

“If the new entrant knows what he wants to get and how to get it, why not? We must not shut the doors against anyone. We must open our doors to those who can make us return to power. If we don’t field a candidate that can win, then we are just wasting our time.”

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